FUCK YEAH SOUTH ASIA!

FUCK YEAH SOUTH ASIA is devoted to anything and everything about India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Kashmir and the Maldives. This includes (but is not limited to) natural beauty, music, film, history, literature, news and politics, food, discussion of the diaspora, language lessons and much more. We feel that the view of South Asia that is often presented is very flat and one-dimensional and we hope to do our small bit to change that.

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Posts tagged "south asia"

Gay  Maldivian refugee wins drag pageant in New Zealand, faces persecution upon return.

Abraham Naim, known on stage as Medulla Oblongata, won the Miss Capital Drag pageant on Sunday.

A refugee crowned Wellington’s top drag queen expects hate mail after wearing a gold burqa as he stripped on stage, discarding a head-to-toe Muslim woman’s robe.

Abraham Naim, who goes by the drag stage name Medulla Oblongata, won the Miss Capital Drag pageant in Wellington on Sunday night.

Last year he was granted asylum in New Zealand because of the persecution he faced being gay in the Maldives where the official religion is Islam.

"I’m definitely in a better place now," he said.

In its decision to grant Naim refugee status last November, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment noted that Naim - who is openly gay and atheist - was “at risk of serious harm from state agents” and there was a “real chance” of persecution if he returned to the Maldives.

Naim said his own father had claimed he would rather have a drug-user son than a gay son. The two no longer speak.

A gay friend in the Maldives - a staunchly Muslim island state southwest of India - had his throat slashed and was almost killed for being gay, Naim said.

He had previously received death threats for being a gay former Muslim and said the abuse took an emotional toll. “Publicly you have to keep a strong face.”

Watch his video interview here

Vigilante mobs abduct young men in push to identify online secular activists

Perceived atheists and Gays targetted as campaign of attacks continues

Maldivian asylum seekers assured of prosecution upon return

 This is his tumblr : fandiyaarukakuni.tumblr.com

Shubha Mudgal threatened in the US!



Popular singer Shubha Mudgal, who was in the US for a performance, got the shock of her life when an irate NRI verbally attacked her for her anti-Modi stance. 

Vocalist Shubha Mudgal, who is currently touring in the USA, was apparently threatened by a board member of the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple. While the audience was looking forward to Shubha Mudgal and Bombay Jayshree’s performance at the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple’s auditorium area, one board member insisted on meeting and talking to Shubha Mudgal.



A source says, “As soon as she stepped aside, the man began to intimidate Shubhaji, criticising her for her ‘anti-Modi, anti-Hindu and anti national’ stand. He told her that he will not ‘tolerate this’ and he went to threaten her with dire consequences if she continued to maintain her stand on the issue.’’

It seems that the organisers of the- show — members of the Kalalaya and Bay Area Telugu Association - stood quietly as the man continued his verbal attack.

“Tabla maestro Aneesh Pradhan, who is Shubhaji’s husband, came rushing to the scene only to find this man completely out of control. It was only after all the artistes protested that security was called in to ensure order,” says the source.

Ashima Yadav, a San Francisco-based photographer recounts the incident. “His objection to Shubha Mudgal performing at the temple, which he clearly treated as his fiefdom, are an indication of how bold these right-wing thugs have become since the recent elections. This is in no way representative of the Bay Area community which welcomes and honours artistes from India no matter what their political persuasions.’’

While Shubha’s in-laws in Mumbai said they were unaware of any such issue, the singer confirmed that a problem had occurred via email. She wrote, “I am safe but I did face a problem on June 1. I am currently in transit and about to board a flight. I feel it would be best if I shared the details of my experience with you on my return to India.”

It may be pointed out that Mudgal, along with a host of other artistes, had signed an appeal to fellow Indians to choose secular candidates during the general elections that were held in April-May.

Shubha Mudgal threatened in the US!

Popular singer Shubha Mudgal, who was in the US for a performance, got the shock of her life when an irate NRI verbally attacked her for her anti-Modi stance. 

Vocalist Shubha Mudgal, who is currently touring in the USA, was apparently threatened by a board member of the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple. While the audience was looking forward to Shubha Mudgal and Bombay Jayshree’s performance at the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple’s auditorium area, one board member insisted on meeting and talking to Shubha Mudgal.

A source says, “As soon as she stepped aside, the man began to intimidate Shubhaji, criticising her for her ‘anti-Modi, anti-Hindu and anti national’ stand. He told her that he will not ‘tolerate this’ and he went to threaten her with dire consequences if she continued to maintain her stand on the issue.’’

It seems that the organisers of the- show — members of the Kalalaya and Bay Area Telugu Association - stood quietly as the man continued his verbal attack.

“Tabla maestro Aneesh Pradhan, who is Shubhaji’s husband, came rushing to the scene only to find this man completely out of control. It was only after all the artistes protested that security was called in to ensure order,” says the source.

Ashima Yadav, a San Francisco-based photographer recounts the incident. “His objection to Shubha Mudgal performing at the temple, which he clearly treated as his fiefdom, are an indication of how bold these right-wing thugs have become since the recent elections. This is in no way representative of the Bay Area community which welcomes and honours artistes from India no matter what their political persuasions.’’

While Shubha’s in-laws in Mumbai said they were unaware of any such issue, the singer confirmed that a problem had occurred via email. She wrote, “I am safe but I did face a problem on June 1. I am currently in transit and about to board a flight. I feel it would be best if I shared the details of my experience with you on my return to India.”

It may be pointed out that Mudgal, along with a host of other artistes, had signed an appeal to fellow Indians to choose secular candidates during the general elections that were held in April-May.

(Source: mid-day.com)

"All believe they are doing good, which is what gives them licence to do evil. What is in their heart is neither humanity, nor the love which, we are told, lies at the root of true religion."
 Vikram Seth on Section 377 and gay rights in India.

"All believe they are doing good, which is what gives them licence to do evil. What is in their heart is neither humanity, nor the love which, we are told, lies at the root of true religion."

Vikram Seth on Section 377 and gay rights in India.

UPA’s biggest failure is in communication, not in economy.
This data shatter’s the myth that India’s Economy has just collapsed and the end of times has descended on India. 

The UPA government’s biggest failing is its inability to communicate. Many believe that this government has ruined the economy, is totally corrupt, has let inflation go out of control, has bankrupted India through subsidies and so on.

Let us subject the economic narrative to fact-based scrutiny — minus under-analysed hype. As statistics guru William Deming said, “In god we trust; all others must bring data.”


In terms of economic performance across parameters of growth, indebtedness and inclusiveness, the UPA beats the NDA’s performance hands down.
In our view, it’s the UPA-II’s economic performance that is really worthy of praise. UPA-I had a comparatively easy time: global tailwinds lifted all boats.
For UPA-II, to deliver a compounded 7.1% GDP growth, with declining indebtedness, when world growth collapsed to under 1.5%, was the equivalent of getting a double century on a Perth track against Mitchell Johnson when nobody else got into double figures.Growth has to be seen in context of risk, or the debt/GDP ratio. The UPA has delivered what no country has, since 2004: not only has India grown fast, it has taken its debt/GDP ratio down to 67%. China has grown marginally faster, but has run up an unsustainable debt/GDP ratio of 200%
The economy grew 50% faster under the UPA than it did under the NDA. Further, in three out of its five years, the NDA had good global tailwinds. The UPA has battled a once-in-lifetime near-depression for six of its 10 years..
In 2004, India’s debt/GDP ratio was nearly 85%, up from 73% in 1999. Under the NDA, gross fixed capital formation (GFCF), a measure of investment, was around 25% of GDP. Under the UPA, the GFCF has increased sharply to 33%, which is commendable. Russia’s GFCF is 20%.
The other completely overlooked aspect about growth is simply the size of India today: we are nearly a $2-trillion economy. Just to put it in context, India today adds about $100 billion to GDP every year, 25% of India’s entire GDP under the NDA. The entitlement programmes have supposedly bankrupted the exchequer.
Under the NDA, India spent 50% of its budgetary receipts on interest payments, an unsustainable ratio. The UPA’s fiscal management has reduced this to around 30%. The freed-up headroom of 20 percentage points is what has been used to fund subsidies and programmes like the NREGA.These have reduced poverty sharply and boosted rural demand without burdening the exchequer. This is precisely why India has managed high growth despite sharply lowering its debt/GDP ratio.
On employment, both the NDA and the UPA have been unremarkable. On inflation, the UPA has a problem, but the NDA had an easy time because of very low global commodity prices earlier: prices of oil, wheat, rice and others have risen 6-7 times since 2002.
The inescapable truth is that the days of heady growth are over for all major countries. Minus the complicated economics, the reason for the slowdown in global growth is simple: since the 1980s, world economic growth has been driven by large debt build-ups by all western economies.
It is this debt that lifted all emerging economies, India included. The second growth driver was China, again, by feasting on debt. Both these factors will not recur. Neither the west, nor China can stretch their balance sheets any more.

UPA’s biggest failure is in communication, not in economy.

This data shatter’s the myth that India’s Economy has just collapsed and the end of times has descended on India. 

The UPA government’s biggest failing is its inability to communicate. Many believe that this government has ruined the economy, is totally corrupt, has let inflation go out of control, has bankrupted India through subsidies and so on.

Let us subject the economic narrative to fact-based scrutiny — minus under-analysed hype. As statistics guru William Deming said, “In god we trust; all others must bring data.”

In terms of economic performance across parameters of growth, indebtedness and inclusiveness, the UPA beats the NDA’s performance hands down.

  • In our view, it’s the UPA-II’s economic performance that is really worthy of praise. UPA-I had a comparatively easy time: global tailwinds lifted all boats.
  • For UPA-II, to deliver a compounded 7.1% GDP growth, with declining indebtedness, when world growth collapsed to under 1.5%, was the equivalent of getting a double century on a Perth track against Mitchell Johnson when nobody else got into double figures.Growth has to be seen in context of risk, or the debt/GDP ratio. The UPA has delivered what no country has, since 2004: not only has India grown fast, it has taken its debt/GDP ratio down to 67%. China has grown marginally faster, but has run up an unsustainable debt/GDP ratio of 200%
  • The economy grew 50% faster under the UPA than it did under the NDA. Further, in three out of its five years, the NDA had good global tailwinds. The UPA has battled a once-in-lifetime near-depression for six of its 10 years..
  • In 2004, India’s debt/GDP ratio was nearly 85%, up from 73% in 1999. Under the NDA, gross fixed capital formation (GFCF), a measure of investment, was around 25% of GDP. Under the UPA, the GFCF has increased sharply to 33%, which is commendable. Russia’s GFCF is 20%.
  • The other completely overlooked aspect about growth is simply the size of India today: we are nearly a $2-trillion economy. Just to put it in context, India today adds about $100 billion to GDP every year, 25% of India’s entire GDP under the NDA. The entitlement programmes have supposedly bankrupted the exchequer.
  • Under the NDA, India spent 50% of its budgetary receipts on interest payments, an unsustainable ratio. The UPA’s fiscal management has reduced this to around 30%. The freed-up headroom of 20 percentage points is what has been used to fund subsidies and programmes like the NREGA.These have reduced poverty sharply and boosted rural demand without burdening the exchequer. This is precisely why India has managed high growth despite sharply lowering its debt/GDP ratio.
  • On employment, both the NDA and the UPA have been unremarkable. On inflation, the UPA has a problem, but the NDA had an easy time because of very low global commodity prices earlier: prices of oil, wheat, rice and others have risen 6-7 times since 2002.

The inescapable truth is that the days of heady growth are over for all major countries. Minus the complicated economics, the reason for the slowdown in global growth is simple: since the 1980s, world economic growth has been driven by large debt build-ups by all western economies.

It is this debt that lifted all emerging economies, India included. The second growth driver was China, again, by feasting on debt. Both these factors will not recur. Neither the west, nor China can stretch their balance sheets any more.

(Source: articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com)

Engaging Youngistan: Shashi Tharoor’s letter to first-time voters

(Dr. Shashi Tharoor, MP from Thiruvananthapuram and the Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development, is the author of 14 books, including, most recently, Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st Century.)

The 2014 elections are a critical juncture in the history of our nation. They are being described as a ‘youthquake’, with an unprecedented share of first-time voters coming forward to exercise their democratic right. An estimated 150 million young Indians like you will cast their votes this year, and there are about 90,000 new voters in every constituency in our country (over a lakh in Thiruvananthapuram).

The average age of our population is a young 28, and half our countrymen are below the age of 25, while 66% are under 35! In a decade’s time, when China reaches an average age well above 40, India’s people will remain young at 29. Even as the workforce in China and the West shrinks, our human resources in India are developing at a staggering rate that will leave us with a substantial edge over the rest of the world. The India of tomorrow is your India, and this is your century.

These elections, then, are not merely about casting votes. They are your way of shaping our nation’s future, and yours. Voting is a way of involving yourself in the decisions that matter: decisions about professional opportunities in our country, the investment climate we build, the way in which revenues are raised and spent, and the policies that will affect your own advancement.

Over the last few years, in a welcome development, Indian youth have increasingly been getting involved in politics. Innovative UPA Government policies, from the strengthening of Panchayati Raj institutions to establishing the effective Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme as well as promulgating the revolutionary Right to Information (RTI) Act, have created conducive ground for mass mobilisation and awareness.

Change is in the air, and many youth have demonstrated this through your backing of the Jan Lokpal Bill, the massive outpouring of support for the Delhi rape victim known as Nirbhaya, and by demonstrations to strike down Section 377, to name only a few examples.

There is no doubt that young Indians are taking a greater interest in the running of our country and reshaping the way we look at government and how government looks at us.

But when you cast your vote in 2014, I appeal to you also to vote for an Idea of India, to borrow Tagore’s famous phrase. Our nation is at a crossroads where the decisions of its youth will determine India’s future course and destiny. The India envisioned by our founding fathers was a land of certain key values, the most important of which was our abiding pluralism. This has in fact been an ancient tradition; India is the country where St Thomas brought Christianity long before it reached Europe.

It is the land where Jews sought refuge after the destruction of their First Temple by the Babylonians. When the Zoroastrians fled persecution in Iran, it was to India that they came. Alexander’s Greek successors were absorbed into our population, as were the Mughals, Arab traders, Mongol and Scythian warriors, and others of innumerable ethnicities, denominations and faiths. Practically all the religions of the world co-existed in India peacefully for centuries until the colonial era politics of “divide and rule” exacerbated minor schisms into major political factors. Upon gaining Independence, however, our founding fathers sought to cast aside these artificial, imposed divisions to restore to India her original character; one of pluralism, diversity, and equal freedom.

In recent years, however, an ugly ideology has taken root among certain sections that visualizes India through the narrow parameters of religious identity.

No matter what its varied pretensions otherwise, it remains at its core an intolerant strand of thought, which wants to reinvent India in an ugly and bigoted form - a step that can only lead to calamity.

Divisive characters of every variety are welcomed into this intellectual and political fold, which utilizes the freedoms of our society to propagate its own regressive agenda.

Sustaining pluralism is never easy, but this new ideology takes advantage of our youth’s enthusiasm and eagerness for political and economic change, by concealing its principal motives under a camouflage of ‘progress’. It promises development but it is important to note that this is development for a privileged few only.

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(Source: ndtv.com)

Gay community to Narendra Modi: You will not get our vote

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It’s the first election in India where the rights of sexual minorities are a political issue. Three major political parties – the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – have pledged to decriminalise consensual same-sex relations if elected, suggesting the rising societal support for the rights of sexual minorities could find political resonance.

The Congress manifesto also promises protection for the rights of transgenders, who have only just found inclusion in the country’s electoral process this year, with the “other” gender option being introduced to voter ID cards. While neither queer support groups nor the parties themselves have official numbers on the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) demographic in various constituencies, even symbolic support at this stage is highly encouraging, say members of the queer community.

The AAP manifesto is yet to be released, but the party has been actively engaged in dialogues with the LGBTQ community regarding the sensitisation of its members on issues of gender, most recently at a workshop moderated by queer filmmaker and AAP member, Onir. “It is important for us not to be seen as a minority, but as part of a mainstream conversation about sexual autonomy,” he said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party is yet to release their poll manifesto, but party President Rajnath Singh has in the past described homosexuality as “unnatural” and stated his support for Article 377, the legal provision that criminalises a broad range of sexual acts, including homosexual intercourse between consenting adults.

The Congress’ apparent support for same-sex relations comes at a time when the Indian LGBTQ community has faced its most serious setback yet. In December 2013, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court upheld Section 377, rejected the Delhi High Court judgment in favour of decriminalisation.

Shortly after, the apex court dismissed a fresh petition by the Naz Foundation to review its own judgment – shutting down any further legal conversations on the rights of what it decreed a “miniscule minority”.

While petitioner Naz Foundation has faced criticism in the past for choosing the legal route to contest section 377, instead of lobbying for change in the legislature, it appears that the Supreme Court’s conservative ruling has ironically catalyzed a strong political support base for queer rights.

“Despite marginalisation, the young, queer voter has a new and strong identity,” said gender rights activist Gautam Bhan. “This is a generation that has discovered its voice in the five years since the Delhi High Court’s judgment. They want progress, but not at the cost of personal freedoms.”

On social media and in real life, the LGBTQ community has been discussing if India has a “queer vote”, and whom they should vote for anyway. “The marginalised may remain hidden,” said writer and queer activist Lesley Esteves, “but we do realise that we are all being threatened by a common enemy.” Esteves says the decision of the three parties to support of gay rights is a “smart political move”.

Even if it does not translate into votes, it does show that all three are willing to “stick their necks out” against the the Supreme Court judgment and demonstrate their opposition to the BJP’s position on queer rights. “Now more than ever,” she said, “it has become clear who not to vote for.”

Since December 2012, and the nationwide protests that followed the rape and murder of a 23-year-old female in New Delhi, it has been evident that questions of gender and sexual autonomy will be pivotal to the country’s upcoming general elections.

While parties across the board have addressed the question of women’s security, only the Congress, AAP and CPI (ML) realise that questions of gender and sexuality are an essential way to address and the politics of social conservatism, and reach out to the young urban voter. “Even if we had won the legal battle, social acceptance might have taken another couple of decades for same-sex partners,” said equal rights activist Harish Iyer. “I think a few political parties have definitely accelerated that process now.”

While frequent users of Grindr, a mobile dating app for gay men, were recently surprised to find automatically generated BJP advertisements between searches for prospective partners, the party’s refusal to speak on Section 377, particularly in light of the AAP and Congress’ pledge for decriminalisation, is being described as an “active silence”.

"There are still people of privilege that continue to identify as homosexual and support the BJP,” said historian Mario da Penha, "but they are largely enamoured by the muscularity of Hindutva, or the veneer of order and development that Modi promises.”

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India Introspect:They called me Gurkha, Chinese, chinki. I lived through hell: Danny Denzongpa..

Last week, Nido Taniam, a 19-year-old student from Arunachal Pradesh, was killed in an alleged racial attack in Delhi. 

Soon after,  two Manipuri girls were beaten up by goons in Delhi. 

Politicians like Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi were quick to condemn the incidents.
 

The latter even spoke of there being “only one India” and saying that the country “belongs to all of us”. 

With racial abuse now in the spotlight, stars who hail from the north-eastern states of India share their own experiences. 

I lived through hell: Danny Denzongpa

The veteran actor believes that lack of geographical and cultural knowledge are the prime reasons behind racial discrimination. 

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"To feel alienated in your own land is the saddest thing,” he had said, reminiscing about his student days at the Film and Television Institute of India during the Indo-China war in 1962. 

"That was the worst time for me.I dreaded stepping out of the campus because people would stare, and jibes like Gurkha, Chinese, Nepalese and chinki were openly thrown at me. I lived through hell,” he added.

But Denzongpa didn’t accept the rejection. He fought it to make his place in Bollywood too. “I knew I was different, but I was going to convert that into an advantage. Once you become a brand, the world wants you — including the same people who rejected you,” he said. 
(In an interview to HT Café in June 2012)

Let’s not pretend we’re unaware: Meiyang Chang

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Let’s not pretend that we are unaware of the fact that discrimination permeates the very moral fabric of our society on the basis on caste, creed, colour, looks and social standing. 

The unfortunate incident in Delhi is a mirror of what happens to members of every community on an everyday basis. We need to be more accepting and less judgmental. One can’t blame another for the sins they themselves commit.

I’ve been teased: Papon

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"I have never personally faced racism, but yes, I’ve been teased in a fun way for my accent and looks. However, I don’t know why people are like that. We’re a vast country and there will be differences. I hope the situation improves slowly. There are jokes against south Indians, north Indians and east Indians, but people should start respecting each other. We must be open to all cultures because this country is the biggest collection of them. We should be proud of our versatility and not make fun of it.”

Lots of pain behind the laughter: Jahnu Barua

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"I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve faced racism. I’ve had people ask me for my passport and address me as ‘chinki’. Initially, I’d get angry, but later I learned to live with it. 

There are people who are mindlessly ignorant and have no human character. I used to protest earlier, but today, I laugh at the people who treated me that way. There’s a lot of pain behind this laughter.”

I detest the mindset of people who can’t change the way they think: Mary Kom 

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Most of India is ignorant about the north east. It’s the attitude that’s wrong. I was never taken seriously due to my looks. I had to suffer my share of derogatory ‘Chinki’ remarks, especially in big cities. I speak Hindi, so I always understand what they say. But now, I hope for a new beginning…I hope I can be the change. 

The people of the north east are well-qualified and well-brought-up Indians. They are employed in big cities as waiters and shop assistants. I respect the dignity of labour, but I detest the mindset of the people who cannot change the way they think about us. Treat us with warmth, respect and love. Then, there won’t be simmering anger and feelings of alienation in your own land.

(In an interview to HT Café in August 2012)

To segregate them is criminal: Kalpana Lajmi
The film-maker is completely shocked by the news. “There is definitely an undercurrent of violence and non-acceptance towards north-eastern students. Every member of the Central as well as State 

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Governments should do something about this. It’s highly unfair to stereotype them and call them by vulgar names because they look different. To segregate them is criminal,” she says, adding, “In 2014, for the police to pick up a young boy and put him back in the same spot, I don’t know what kind of cruelty that is. There is no proper search done regarding who the murderers are. Like all other cases, this too will close down soon and be forgotten.” 

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